The Carrow Haunt

The Carrow Haunt

"The dead are restless here..." Remy is a tour guide for Carrow House, a notoriously haunted building. When she's asked to host seven guests for a week-long stay to research Carrow's phenomena, she hopes to finally experience some of the sightings that made the house famous. At first, it's everything they hoped for. Then a storm moves in, cutting off their contact with th...

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Title:The Carrow Haunt
Author:Darcy Coates
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Carrow Haunt Reviews

  • Mindy

    This story was a deliciously creepy slow burn, with lots of history of the house being discussed - which was plenty scary enough all by itself to keep me turning pages. Then we are teased a little longer with minor incidents happening that leave us with more questions than answers, and just when I thought I might be a little bored (gasp!) - the action really kicks into high gear and things go very, very wrong. I was actually wondering at one point if our main gal, Remy - might be the only one to

    This story was a deliciously creepy slow burn, with lots of history of the house being discussed - which was plenty scary enough all by itself to keep me turning pages. Then we are teased a little longer with minor incidents happening that leave us with more questions than answers, and just when I thought I might be a little bored (gasp!) - the action really kicks into high gear and things go very, very wrong. I was actually wondering at one point if our main gal, Remy - might be the only one to survive Carrow House. Also, many suspicions are raised and for part of the story we don't know who we can trust and who might be up to no good. This story is Clue without the humor, intermingled with elements Darcy Coates is so good at writing - horror, ghosts, the macabre, suspense.

    Another great read from Darcy Coates! When's the next one coming out???

  • Christina  Torretta

    I love horror books that have haunted houses. Houses can be eerie even without all the background, but walk into a house with a lot of background information, or deaths, and you have a horror just waiting to happen.

    This book actually reminded me of a mixture between Rose Red by Stephen King and The Poltergeist. It was very well done!

    Full review coming soon to Ruffdayreviews.com

  • Emily

    Wow, where to begin with this book? I went to bed last night just intending to read a chapter or two and finished the entire second half in a single sitting- always a good sign, though not for my sleeping patterns.

    Most texts by this author follow a quite familiar pattern and contain similar plot-based ingredients:

    1. There is a spooky house

    2. The main character because isolated and unable to leave the property due to financial/emotional/physical entrapment by spooky things/all of the above

    3. T

    Wow, where to begin with this book? I went to bed last night just intending to read a chapter or two and finished the entire second half in a single sitting- always a good sign, though not for my sleeping patterns.

    Most texts by this author follow a quite familiar pattern and contain similar plot-based ingredients:

    1. There is a spooky house

    2. The main character because isolated and unable to leave the property due to financial/emotional/physical entrapment by spooky things/all of the above

    3. Things go from creepy to worse by the minute until the grand finale which either resolves the situation or sticks a nail in the coffin of the story in more ways than one (looking at you Rookward House).

    This book contained and yet managed to subvert these tropes in such a way that this book felt like a breath of fresh air compared to the author's other books, even when it was paying homage to various classic horror films and devices.

    For example, like in Rose Red, there is a group of paranormal researchers all with different abilities that become trapped within the location they are investigating. However, unlike that film, whilst the characters panic and respond in different ways, in this book they remain both realistic, but also likable.

    The horror here does not stem from characters being awful to each other while unravelling under the stresses caused by the haunted location, because they actually keep level heads and remain calm for the most part. The horror in part comes from the fact that while the characters are smart, so are the evil forces within the house. The characters plan and strategise and stay strong and yet bad things STILL happen and this has so much more of an emotional impact than the usual horror protagonists acting like idiots and causing the bad things to happen.

    I actually found myself holding my breath without realising during certain parts of this book because I wanted the characters to be alright, even though I was VERY aware of the genre I was reading. I felt a constant feeling of dread while reading this and it was amazing.

    Usually Darcy Coates focuses on a very minimalist cast of characters, with less than five characters appearing in a book. Here, we have an ensemble cast and they are all very unique and developed characters even if some are elaborated on more than others. This allowed me to develop favourites without even realising until something bad would happen to them. Normally, I wold just pick a favourite, explain and move on (pun intended), but each character had at least one trait that I found engaging. In this book, we have:

    * Remy, the main central focus character-wise and she is great. Sweet, inquisitive, assertive and more than a little idealistic, she won me over almost immediately.

    * Mark- secretive and charismatic with his own motives for arranging the trip, he initially seemed interesting, but untrustworthy. I loved his relationship with Remy, but I squinted suspiciously at his actions on many occasions throughout the book. Luckily this did not stop my reading progress.

    * April- the teenage owner of the very spooky scary house with a love of the paranormal, which is more than a little bit alarming in its intensity for both me and the other characters. Seemed the most likely to sabotage escape plans or cause something terrible to happen.

    *Lucille- April's tag-along, she initially appeared snooty and (smartly) unwilling to even be in the house. Pretty much reeked of desperation, but I don't think I would handle a super haunted house with any more grace. Getting wine-drunk while near malevolent forces is always a bad plan though.

    * Taj- sweet boy, good boy, deserved better boy. It was fantastic to have a scientific approach in the horror genre without them being presented as a know-it-all or downright skeptic.

    *Majorie- she annoyed me so much initially, but I also really enjoyed and became attached to her blunt nature and forwardness, she and her assistant Bernard had such a great and unusual relationship.

    *Bernard- his character arc and development was a little predictable, but enjoyable nonetheless. As rude and blunt as his employer, he comes across as very cold, but was really just antisocial and actually strong and reliable in a crisis. I would happily read a whole book about Bernard being Bernard.

    The main antagonist for me, rather than being Carrow, who came across as evil but almost generic in his design, was the house. The Carrow Haunt was indeed the real star of the show/book for me. I am in love with houses that become characters in their own right and this one did that in style.

    Used as a scene of many grisly and gruesome murders, accidents and disappearances, this location screams danger even before it properly awakened to ruin everybody's day.

    On a personal level, I also just find something absolutely fascinating in the concept that a realm of accepted personal protection and harmony, like a home, can transform into a literal manifestation of horror and turn against its inhabitants and become a monster in its own right.

    This book was a well-conceptualised and explored thesis of horror and yet still contained Darcy Coates's trademark fluent and engaging writing style, so that even in slower moments that I could tell were building up to big peaks, development and tension were always present. I just had to know what was going to happen next!

    There was a couple of plot points I felt were a bit too convenient, but they all fit together nicely and added a touch of foreshadowing, so while I wasn't a big fan of some of the reveals regarding the character of Carrow and his motivations, it didn't hinder my enjoyment.

    In conclusion, this is one of my favourite horror books which I have read recently, not just by Darcy Coates, but in a very long time.

    My only fear is that now I won't read anything that lives up to the high expectations, The Carrow Haunt has set for my other books to live up to and that is a very scary thought indeed...

  • Empress Reece (Hooked on Books)

    is Darcy Coates newest release. It's about a girl named Remy that gives tours of the famously haunted Carrow House. On one of her tours, a guest asks if she will proposition the owner to allow a group of people including Remy, to stay at Carrow House for a couple of weeks in order to study the paranormal phenomena up close and personal. Not willing to pass up a chance to experience some of the sightings she talks about in her tours everyday, Remy agrees to participate; and the o

    is Darcy Coates newest release. It's about a girl named Remy that gives tours of the famously haunted Carrow House. On one of her tours, a guest asks if she will proposition the owner to allow a group of people including Remy, to stay at Carrow House for a couple of weeks in order to study the paranormal phenomena up close and personal. Not willing to pass up a chance to experience some of the sightings she talks about in her tours everyday, Remy agrees to participate; and the owner, a huge paranormal enthusiast, jumps on the chance, with the stipulation that she has to be included in the guest list too. None of the guests are quite prepared though, for the terrifying experience Carrow House has in store for them.

    So this is the second book I've ever read by Darcy Coates and I was just as impressed with it as I was with

    . I love a good ghost and haunted house story and she's delivered in both books.

    was deliciously creepy and suspenseful! Once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down. I'm definitely looking forward to reading a lot more of her books.

  • Kimberly

    is the latest novel from author Darcy Coates. This novel had so much in terms of genre-overlap! We have horror in many forms: supernatural, psychological, a long-dead serial killer, gruesome deaths, ghosts, gore, and bodies. Also present is a strong thriller/detective element that had me second guessing just about every idea that I attempted to predict.

    Remy Allier gives guided tours through the area's "most haunted house" once

    is the latest novel from author Darcy Coates. This novel had so much in terms of genre-overlap! We have horror in many forms: supernatural, psychological, a long-dead serial killer, gruesome deaths, ghosts, gore, and bodies. Also present is a strong thriller/detective element that had me second guessing just about every idea that I attempted to predict.

    Remy Allier gives guided tours through the area's "most haunted house" once a week, when the weather permits. Located in an island-like area, with only one bridge spanning Carrow's land to the "mainland", the isolation of the location is as absolute as it can get. As a tour guide, Remy knows all aspects of Carrow's long and sullied history. Built by John and Marie Carrow as a sanitarium initially, a tragic fire led to it being renovated into a Grand Hotel.

    Their biggest mistake was in the hiring of a certain gardener, by the name of Edgar Porter.

    Even after the initial saga was over, the estate carried with it an unmistakable taint. The series of deaths and disappearances continued on, unabated, until it was eventually left untenanted. A spoiled rich teenager, April Mahon, had the former hotel purchased for herself. She took great pains in having the original furnishings restored to how it was in its murderous heyday.

    After one tour, Remy is approached by a rich businessman, Mark Sulligent, with a proposition to rent Carrow House for a two week period. He plans on studying the psychic phenomena through various means; a medium, a modern-day ghost hunter, and a few select individuals with an interest in Carrow.

    One of Darcy Coates' greatest strengths in this novel is in her choice of characters. Each and every one of them carries a unique personality--some quite at odds with others--and I found every individual to be both mentally captivating and original. I never caught myself attempting to figure out

    for they were all completely fleshed out as the novel progressed.

    Whether you like or dislike their personalities, each character remains

    to themselves and behaves exactly as the author has led us to believe they will. We have some very mysterious individuals, as well as those that go through no deception in showing just who they are and what they think of the others.

    When things start to get heated, Coates leaves us with a genuine feeling for each of the house's

    , and I couldn't help but speculate on what other motives these individuals may have been harboring that led them to this place.

    As for the atmosphere in this book, words alone can't even begin to do it justice! The first third or so of this novel sets the background, characters, and present situation to absolute perfection. I felt completely immersed in the shadows at Carrow as if I were a "silent observer", actually

    the gothic mansion, myself. After that point, the action ramps up exponentially, and the oppressive, disquieting feeling becomes nearly overwhelming at times. This is where it became impossible to distance myself, mentally, and I began to carry the book everywhere I went.

    Carrow House, itself, is as much a character as any other here. Its unique location, connection to so many horrific and gruesome deaths all throughout its history, and ability to seemingly hold so many spirits and dark secrets within its walls, make it one of the most formidable forces there.

    Overall, a supernatural horror novel that captured my attention from the very beginning, tightening it's hold over me the further my reading progressed. There was truly so much that I found

    going on in this story, that I never once was able to guess at an accurate conclusion. Coates managed to keep throwing new twists into the mix, just at the points when I thought I might possibly manage a "guess". This tactic combined with the omnipresent foreboding atmosphere, made for a novel that I never wanted to put down.

    Highly recommended!

  • Cheri Schaefer

    From the first word to the last this ghost story will grip

    you and won't let go. So many twists and turns. This was

    an extremely entertaining and enjoyable ghost story. I

    couldn't put this down for any length of time. Even getting

    up in the middle of the night to see what happens next.

    The characters are great and the story was mesmerizing,

    riveting, and spell binding. I have to place this at the top of

    my list as one of my all time favorite ghost stories.

    From the first word to the last this ghost story will grip

    you and won't let go. So many twists and turns. This was

    an extremely entertaining and enjoyable ghost story. I

    couldn't put this down for any length of time. Even getting

    up in the middle of the night to see what happens next.

    The characters are great and the story was mesmerizing,

    riveting, and spell binding. I have to place this at the top of

    my list as one of my all time favorite ghost stories. Love

    Darcy Coates and love her work. Recommended HIGHLY!!!

  • Kat

    Where has Darcy Coates been in my life? Why have I never heard of her prior to this?

    This book was amazingly suspenseful. I wouldn't classify it as horror necessarily, which is great because if things get too gory my stomach nopes out. But I love suspense and thrillers and anything in the vein of horror (minus the gore) so this was perfect for me. I kept turning the pages and moving on to the next chapter and I was miserable anytime I had to pull myself away from the book. (And there are things

    Where has Darcy Coates been in my life? Why have I never heard of her prior to this?

    This book was amazingly suspenseful. I wouldn't classify it as horror necessarily, which is great because if things get too gory my stomach nopes out. But I love suspense and thrillers and anything in the vein of horror (minus the gore) so this was perfect for me. I kept turning the pages and moving on to the next chapter and I was miserable anytime I had to pull myself away from the book. (And there are things I did not do this weekend as I had a lot of trouble putting this book down.)

    I will be moving on to more of Darcy's books.

  • Mehsi

    The newest Darcy Coates and I was so so so excited to start reading this one.

    I just had all the right elements and I just couldn't wait. Darcy Coates always knows how to write a great horror/haunted story, and this one also featured a group of people going to stay at a very very haunted place. What could go wrong? I couldn't wait for them to go exploring, for them to delve deeper into the mystery.

    And there were exciting parts, but sadly at times I found myself bored and wondering when the actio

    The newest Darcy Coates and I was so so so excited to start reading this one.

    I just had all the right elements and I just couldn't wait. Darcy Coates always knows how to write a great horror/haunted story, and this one also featured a group of people going to stay at a very very haunted place. What could go wrong? I couldn't wait for them to go exploring, for them to delve deeper into the mystery.

    And there were exciting parts, but sadly at times I found myself bored and wondering when the action would actually start. When the house would finally show its true colours and the haunting truly would begin. And not such a few scary Boooo parts but actually, honest to all that is holy, scary. Even with something happening around 49% the book didn't get that exciting or creepy until 61%. Yep. 61%. Why I didn't give up? (Well I actually was planning to do so at 34%, but I kept going as I hoped things would change.) Why did I give this book a 4 star rating? Because of what happens after 61%, when it gets creepy. But also because of the cover, the idea of a very haunted house with such a bloody history that it is no wonder no one ever wants to stay for tea, the spooky tours through the house (even if we only saw one true tour), the ending (though I have to say that one was a bit anti-climax as well), what was going on in that house, the history of the house, Remy (my favourite character and she was just the best. She was mostly level-headed, caring, sweet, and her knowledge on the house was just amazing). As you can see there were still several great things about this book, and I did enjoy myself overall while reading this book.

    Marjorie and Lucille, and later even April, were my least favourite characters in the book. Lucille was a whiny woman who kept drinking and making complaints about every little detail. She quite ruined the experience for me, as I had hoped for at least people who cared about the haunting, and not some whiny thirty-something lady who should just shut up and get dragged away by a ghost. Then there is Marjorie. From the start I just didn't like her and her high and mighty attitude. Woman, so you can talk and see ghosts, puleeeeassee there is no need to act so bitchy about it. Or have such an attitude when someone is into the science aspect, or be so blunt about April's powers. Plus she was just so suspicious at points that I she immediately became a suspect when poop began to hit the fan.

    April later got quite annoying. I first quite liked her and her go go attitude. How she wasn't afraid of anything, how she was eager to get started. But then later, after a rejection, she turns into a total blech of a character. She is supposed to be 17/18 but she felt more like 13/14 with how she acted at times.

    There was also some romance between Remy and Mark, I have to say I quite liked it. Yes, at times it felt a bit out of place, but generally I was rooting for these two to get together.

    What Mark's secret was? His reason to host this whole shebang? I was quite suspicious throughout the story, though I could also see that he didn't seem to be one to harm people. So I was waiting patiently for him to confide in one of the characters (I was hoping Remy) and tell us his secret. When we were told... well, it broke my heart. Poor guy.

    Barnard was a bit like Lucille/Marjorie to me, I found him rude and couldn't stand his attitude, but I could also see that deep down the guy was probably just a very nice guy, he just didn't show it.

    It was pretty fun to read about the history of the house. Well, as fun as countless of deaths and murders are (so not really). Man, that guy was way too creepy and disturbing. No one was safe in that hotel, and I was quite surprised that no one ever thought to suspect the guy. Then again, as the book also explains he was a white rich dude, one of the higher class. So why suspect him? Right, it is not as if he has blood on his hands? Right?

    Though I had kind of wished they had explored more of the house. I get that of course a lot of the house has deteriorated over the many years, but still I would have liked some more exploration deeper into the house. Now at times it just felt like they stayed in the same areas over and over again, only moving to certain rooms at times when it was needed. I just got so bored of seeing the same stuff, and I wouldn't have minded a small exploration or them getting lost. :P Plus it also warped my sense on how big the house actually was. At times the house felt humongous, at other times it just felt like a normal house to me.

    What the guy was planning with all the deaths was a pretty dang disturbing.

    The ending. I will put this under spoiler.

    I did like that the author added an epilogue. Though I think, rather than a tea party, I would have liked to see some of the characters get together again and go ghost hunting again (some people just can't resist even after scary experiences).

    I also liked that they had no means of getting out of the house as soon as the storm hit. I just adore it when you have a spooky setting already and then the author adds a storm, making everything far less predictable and more spooky. More dangerous.

    Plus points to the amazing cover.

    I think I mentioned all that I wanted to mention so I will end with that I would recommend this book to people. It may get a bit boring at times, but there is still plenty of creepiness to go around, and it does get better at around 61%.

    Review first posted at

  • Johanna

    I do love a good haunted house, and Carrow house has a grisly reputation. Unfortunately, the novel is executed more like a Nancy Drew book than a horror novel and "The Carrow Haunt" often has an upbeat feel despite the Gothic setting. This may be because Remy is such a positive and endearing protagonist. I never believed that the author would let any real harm come to Remy, hence I never really feared for the safety of the characters.

    One thing I really liked about the novel was that the author

    I do love a good haunted house, and Carrow house has a grisly reputation. Unfortunately, the novel is executed more like a Nancy Drew book than a horror novel and "The Carrow Haunt" often has an upbeat feel despite the Gothic setting. This may be because Remy is such a positive and endearing protagonist. I never believed that the author would let any real harm come to Remy, hence I never really feared for the safety of the characters.

    One thing I really liked about the novel was that the author is initially quite ambiguous about the presence of supernatural phenomenon in Carrow House. For a brief spell the reader is left to entertain the impression that Carrow House is inhabited by a murderer who exists very much in the human realm versus the idea that the gusts are being sabotaged by a supernatural presence. This ambiguity is terrifying - I only wish it had continued for longer.

    The idea of an intrepid group of ghost hunters/historian/spiritual mediums entering a haunted location, thought to be significantly less dangerous and then to find the house 'waking up', is not a new phenomenon. Darcy Coates casts her characters into very stereotypical roles, from the irresponsible older spiritual medium, to the hansom and mysterious benefactor, and the roles seemed played-out and a weak. I also feel like the ending was quite sugar-coated and did not reflect the harrowing experience that Remy and her friends survived.

    Overall there are some very unsettling moments in "The Carrow Haunt", but they are outstripped by a human interest element. I loved the setting of Carrow House and I believe that the author is capable of creating a modern Gothic masterpiece. "The Carrow Haunt" is not that masterpiece but it is a good light horror read with engaging characters and a formidable setting.

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